Vegetable Minestrone with Parsley Pistou is a flavorful and healthy soup that’s perfect for a cozy dinner at home. Made with creamy white beans, fresh herbs and loads of healthy green vegetables, this soup is gluten free and vegan adaptable!
For the Soup:
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil (or more if omitting pancetta)
- 3 ounces Pancetta or 3 slices bacon, diced *see note
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
- 5 stalks celery, diced (about 2 cups)
- 2 medium-large carrots, scrubbed clean and diced (about 2 cups)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 sprig fresh thyme (sub 1/4 tsp dried thyme)
- 1 sprig rosemary (sub 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 28oz can whole peeled tomatoes
- 5 cups water
- 1 tablespoon salt, plus more to taste as needed
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 parmesan cheese rind, optional
- 1 bunch swiss chard, stems and leaves chopped
- 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 1 1/2 cups diced green beans
For the Parsley Pistou:
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced or grated
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, to taste
- Salt, to taste
Make the Soup:
- Place a large heavy pot or dutch oven over medium heat and add in the olive oil and pancetta. Cook until the it has given up most of its fat and is just starting to crisp, about 7 minutes.
- Add the onion, celery and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more.
- Add the thyme, rosemary and bay leaves along with the tomatoes, water, salt, pepper, parmesan cheese rind (if using), chard, cannellini beans, zucchini and green beans.
- Bring up to a simmer, cover and let cook for at least 30 minutes, or longer to let the flavors meld. The Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
For the Parsley Pistou:
- Combine the minced garlic, parsley and olive oil in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and let sit for at least 20 minutes to let the flavors meld.
- Alternatively, you can add whole ingredients to a food processor or blender and pulse until combined. Or, you can pound everything in a mortar and pestle, but this method takes the longest.
Ladle the minestrone into bowls and serve with parsley pistou on the side along with grated parmesan and crusty bread.
*For a vegan / vegetarian version, you can leave out the pancetta / bacon and the parmesan cheese rind. Just add a little more salt and olive oil to make up for it.
If you’d like to add pasta, cook it separately in boiling, salted water, then drain and keep on the side to add to individual bowls. If you add the pasta to the pot of soup, it will absorb all of the broth and turn mushy.
This recipe is very flexible and adaptable, so use it as a guideline and not gospel. Throw in some leftover shredded chicken, the rice from last night’s Chinese takeout, a diced sweet potato that’s starting to sprout, or anything else about to go bad in your fridge.
Keywords: pesto, vegetable soup, italian